Johnston County Public Schools adopted a policy amendment Tuesday night to reportedly ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in K-12 classrooms. Some say the two sentence amendment to an existing policy doesn’t go far enough.
School officials contend CRT is not being taught in classrooms, but one county commissioner disagrees.
Citizen Advocates for Accountable Government (CAAG) had over 110 people protesting outside the JCPS Central Office before the board meeting. About 10 people gathered in the parking lot in support of CRT.
Dr. David Pearce, Area Assistant Superintendent, presented an amendment to Policy 5100 – Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct for all JCPS employees. The amendment stated, “Instructional staff and other school system employees will not utilize methods or materials that would create division or promote animosity amongst students, staff, and the community. Staff shall not teach social theories outside of the North Carolina standards of any kind to students unless approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education and legislated by the North Carolina General Assembly.”
Board member Ronald Johnson said the amended policy was inadequate. He submitted a draft copy of a policy he created asking it to be approved instead. “The policy I think it is far more effective, superior and addresses a lot more in specific nature.”
The board declined to adopt Mr. Johnson’s policy but said it would be reviewed during a Policy Committee Meeting scheduled for July 15th. Afterwards, the school board voted and adopted the Policy 5100 amendment.
Johnston County Schools must adopt a CRT policy to receive full funding this year from Johnston County Commissioners. Commissioner Fred Smith of Clayton has spearheaded efforts. The school system has received $72 million to operate during the 2021-2022 fiscal year, but could receive an additional $7.9 million if they implement an acceptable CRT Policy.
“That policy is nothing but a band aid.”
Dale Lands, co-founder of CAAG said the policy adopted by the school board is inadequate. “That policy is nothing but a band aid. It’s not a policy. It’s just an amendment. They need to make a real policy and address the root issues. What they did last night was nothing. It was them trying to power grab that money.”
Lands said he has reviewed Johnson’s proposed CRT policy and feels it goes farther than what was adopted Tuesday. “I have looked at Ronald Johnson’s policy. The framework is okay. It still needs some work and some time spent on it. But on the surface it is good. It needs a little more added to it, what Texas and Ohio and Phil Berger came out with. Some of that language needs to be put into one at the county level.”
Lands said he has been in touch with Johnston County Commissioners today and has indicated CAAG members don’t believe the school board policy is sufficient.
“I don’t understand why they keep dragging this out.”
County Commissioner Chairman Chad Stewart said, “Once again, as I’ve said in meetings, I don’t want teaching of theories, of Critical Race Theories, in our school system. Our board has made it clear they want a satisfactory policy but they don’t seem to want to deal with it. I’m not sure it will be adequate. It will be up to my board to determine.”
“We have 15 failing schools. Let’s get the ABC’s and 123’s right,” Stewart added, indicating the majority of citizens want a CRT policy adopted and the school board refocused on classrooms and student performance.
“You’ve got 117 people out there (wanting a CRT policy) and 10 on the other side. Just create the policy. Make it a policy number. It’s not that hard. Just do it. That’s what 99 percent of the county is looking for. I don’t understand why they keep dragging this out. Clearly the overwhelming majority of teachers don’t want to teach it. Parents don’t want it taught. It’s not something we need to be pushing on school kids,” Chairman Stewart said.
Commissioner Fred Smith did not see Tuesday’s school board meeting and said he wanted to review what they adopted before making a statement about the policy. However, Mr. Smith said several individuals have contacted him saying CRT is in fact being taught in Johnston County Schools.
“I am not going to spent taxpayers money teaching divisive theories in Johnston County Schools. I for one am not going to support it. It is nothing but indoctrination not education,” Commissioner Smith told The Johnston County Report.
Commissioner Chairman Stewart said discussion of the school board CRT policy is not on the agenda for their next meeting, Monday, July 19th, but he did not rule out it being brought up for discussion.